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COPING WITH THE LAST DAYS

 

Any discerning Christian should be able to see that we are in the last days. The warnings are in the Word that things in these days will be bad and will get worse before they get better. Here is but one example:

 

2 Timothy 3:1-9:  But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres* resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

*Jannes and Jambres were a couple of the Pharaoh’s magicians in the book of Exodus who stood in solidarity with the pagan ruler and who, by demonic empowerment, could reproduce the first two of the ten plagues which God sent upon Egypt (Exodus 7:148:19).

 

Also see these passages for other information about the last days: Matthew 24:3-44; Luke 17:20-37, 21:7-36; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; and 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

 

These paint a bleak picture. It is not hard to look at what is going on in the world to see that these times are upon us, that things have been deteriorating, and that the world will continue to go off the rails. It is tempting to just let things slide and prepare for Jesus’s return at the Rapture. We should be ready, yes, but should we just give up trying to make things better? Notice what Scriptures such as these tell us:

 

Matthew 5:13-16:  “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Philippians 4:5:  Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 

1 Timothy 2:1-4:  Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

Nowhere in those (or other) passages are we told to give up. We are to continue praying for others, standing up for and doing what is right in the sight of God in spite of the fact that things are not going to get better. We are not to quit our jobs and abrogate our responsibilities, just sitting around waiting for Jesus to come back. Although we can see that we are in the end times, no one but God the Father knows when He is going to send Christ to rapture us out of here (Matthew 24:36).

 

Knowing all this, there is still a tension between living as a Christian and realizing that no matter what we do, the world is going to continue its moral decline. It can be frustrating, even exasperating at times, seeing what is happening around us and knowing that we cannot stop it. As people who are born again the ways of the world are no longer natural to us, or at least they shouldn’t be. Now what is or should be natural to us are the ways of Jesus Christ. It goes against our spiritually regenerated grain to tolerate evil. So how do we find a balance between not being able to change what is destined to happen and living as sons and daughters of God in these last and evil days? The best thing is to keep our mutual ministry in view and to live it out: the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).

 

Regardless of our calling in the body of Christ and what is happening in the world, we are all to be witnesses to the lost. We are to tell them the good news that Jesus and Jesus alone saves (Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Witnessing involves far more than our words, though. A lot of it involves our lifestyle. Remember how Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The way we live should reflect our Savior. A lot of times it may seem like nobody notices and nobody cares, but rest assured, if we name the name of Jesus then someone is always watching us, and sooner or later someone will want to know what it is that makes us so different:

 

1 Peter 3:15:  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;…

 

I have had struggles in coping with the last days myself. Naturally I am disgusted with the evil of these times: The media’s constant lies, the corruption in government, the harshness and coarseness of the way people behave, the filthy music blaring from many speakers, the irreverence people have toward God, the selfishness and dishonesty in so many people, and so on. I am glad that all this troubles me because it means my heart has not become hardened, nor am I alone in my feelings.

 

As far back as very ancient Biblical times God-fearing people did not like the evil that went on around them (2 Peter 2:7-8). Even so, if I continue to go on and on bellyaching about what is going on these days then that is complaining, which is contrary to how I should live as a Christian:

 

Philippians 2:14-16a:  Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life,…

 

Even though doing good will not change the course of the world in these last days, do what is right anyway. Do it all with an eye towards exalting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and being a witness to the lost. It is good to be vexed about all this evil up to a point, for you are loving what God loves and hating what God hates, but do not be consumed with it to the level that you become a complainer. Do not lose sight of who we are and Whose we are. Obey those who are in authority as long as what they are requiring does not violate the Word of God. If it is contrary to the Bible, then obey God rather than man (Matthew 22:15-21; Romans 13:1-2; Acts 4:18-20, 31).  There are souls to be won and rewards to be had for doing good. Do not give up. Live for Jesus each day even if the world around you is coming apart at the seams. That is how you cope with the last days.

 

Galatians 6:9-10:  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

 

 


 

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